The Whakatāne District Council has endorsed a partnership arrangement with Ngāti Manawa which could see the iwi take over day-to-day animal control and other regulatory activities in Murupara and the surrounding area.

At its meeting on Thursday, the Council acknowledged residents’ feedback that there is a community-wide issue with regard to roaming dogs and adopted a staff recommendation that a locally-based solution be negotiated with Ngāti Manawa delivering regulatory services within its rohe.

Speaking to the report, Council Community Regulation Manager, Graeme Lewer, said that dog control issues have been prominent in the area in recent years, and the lack of a local animal control officer able to respond quickly to complaints was a concern. That situation had arisen as a result of continuing difficulties in providing an adequate local service, which have seen Whakatāne-based animal control officers deployed to Murupara several times each week.

“Our Whakatāne-based staff have been responding to service requests and are visiting Murupara regularly, but getting local community involvement is the key,” Mr Lewer says. “We will be working to provide the necessary training and resources to ensure the partnership is a success, and that we have a safer community as a result. We believe Ngāti Manawa will be able to provide the level of service the community is seeking, at a similar cost to that incurred currently.”

While the primary focus of the partnership will be on animal control activities, Ngāti Manawa may also be asked to undertake the regulatory activities relating to stock control, fly tipping and overgrown vegetation in the area.

The Council has delegated authority to the Chief Executive to negotiate a service contract and approved the use of dog control reserve funds to cover that component of the service during the 2016/17 financial year.

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